Global Eyes Photography

The Global Eyes Study Abroad Photography Competition is an opportunity for study abroad returnees to share their international experiences and insights with the greater campus community.

Photo submissions are entered into one of the following categories:

  • City Life
  • Creative/Artistic
  • Culture Most Distinct from SMC
  • Landscape
  • Nature and the Environment
  • People and the Human Spirit
  • Society and Politics
  • The Essence of Study Abroad
  • Best Written Caption

The photographs are chosen for their technical quality as well as the accompanying student written narratives. Category winners, Best Written Caption, People’s Choice Award, and the Best of Show Award are announced at an awards ceremony held in the Durick Library in April, and the exhibit remains on display in the library throughout the year.

Category: City Life

Category Winner

“Sitting on City Sidewalks” by Madison Moore
South Africa | March 2018

The first level of entrepreneurship, according to my South African business professor, begins here. The city sidewalks and markets are lined with vendors and salesmen and artists and creators. Using recycled materials to depict the townships of South Africa was a common form of art, found for sale in notable tourist destinations like Bo-Kaap in Cape Town. Despite the reused idea, the color and texture and individuality in every carefully constructed piece was astonishing with each new glance. Without actually visiting (although you should), you can get a glimpse of the complexities of the city systems and networks that pump life into the streets.

“Lighting the Torch at Leicester Square” by Danielle Joubert
England | May 2018

Surrounded by wealthy London theaters full of performers with steady jobs, hundreds set up shop every year in Leicester Square for the solo venture of busking. This man identified himself as a New Zealander named “Manny Tricks,” and not a single spelling permutation gave me any relevant search results in the hours I spent googling him. He must have been successful overall given the sound equipment he was using and the traveling he’d done, but he worked like this particular crowd on this particular day meant absolutely everything. I was one of the first people to gather for his act and I watched as he stalled, implored passersby to gather in, juggled plastic rings, rattled off facts about how hot the fire was and how few people had done x or y trick before, joked about sacrificing nearby children to the flame and helping their mothers make a new one. He eventually made good on his promise to eat the fire pictured in this photograph and jump through the flaming “Hoop of Doom,” but first he had to earn his proverbial paycheck. I watched from start to finish and when the act was finally over, I kept listening to his entreaties as I tossed my cash in and walked away. “Come on, guys, I’m seeing a lot of coins here. Those will be heavy. Anybody got a fiver?”

“Colorful Canals” by Sarah Wight
Italy | October 2018

My friend and I found a cheap flight to Venice for a weekend so naturally, like most study abroad students, we asked, “Why not?” Venice wasn’t on my list of places I had aspired to travel to, but after exploring the narrow maze of streets that span across the city (for a whopping seven hours, I might add) I soon realized I already wanted to go back. The following day we had our very own gondola lesson, and could ride across the canals I had admired the day before. I’m so very blessed and glad we took a chance and ventured to Venice for we just missed the disastrous floods that came crashing in just two weeks later.

“La Vida en La Boca” by Katelyn Stemrich
Argentina | February 2018
In the old port of Buenos Aires, splashes of bright pastels in striking arrangements paint the town of La Boca. This breathtaking barrio is an artist’s vision with street vendors, performers, and craftsmen on every corner. The identity of Argentina is impossible to ignore between the tango dancers in the streets and the painting of La Plaza de Mayo, El Obelisco, or el Puerto Madero at several of the craftsmen’s booths. Lose yourself in the twirling tango skirts, eat an empanada, or treat yourself to a piece of jewelry made of rodocrosita, Argentina’s national stone.



Category: Creative/Artistic

Category Winner

“Cross If You Dare” by Matthew Fournaris
Indonesia | February 2018

When six adventure driven students were given the opportunity to plan an excursion in Java, finding this magical island was the result. We mapped out a day long trek in a region three hours from our program site. The maps we examined showed no signs of this island, yet after five hours of trekking along the coast we came across this bridge. The wood panels on the bridge were not very secure which made crossing the violent sea below a heart pounding experience. In shooting this image I tried to use a long exposure technique to show the magnitude of the ocean’s power.decorated with pop-up art installations that provide new and wonderful ways to brighten the day.

“Architecture Collides” by Annie O’Brien
Spain | October 2018
This photo was taken looking up through an overhanging ceiling in a small neighborhood in Barcelona. The lighter building in the back prominently stood out against the blue sky, while the ceiling seemed to frame the building. Look up at the buildings you pass on the street, they might just surprise you.




“Flesh” by Savanah Conrad
Poland | February 2018
Gravel crunches beneath your feet as you walk through the tall fences into the compound. Barbed wire floats between wooden posts, slowly rusting away. The barracks stand, stiff and straight, while ghosts of the dead peek out the windows as you walk by. You stop when you reach the end of the block, noticing a mound of green and brown earth in front of you, a single door nested below. A brick chimney emerges from the top, and you imagine the smoke that whirled out of it not so long ago.

“Bath Abbey Clock” by Shayna Guild
England | August 2018
The first week of being abroad is all about adjusting and exploring the city that I would call home for the next four months. That first week was a whirlwind of activities and new information. Four months seemed like a long time before leaving, but time runs differently when abroad. While at Heathrow Airport waiting to fly back to the States the past semester seemed like a blink of the eye. Yes, that is cliché to say, yet it is true.




Category: Culture Most Distinct from SMC

Category Winner

“Life On The Water” by Matthew Doyle
Cambodia | August 2018

It is still and peaceful here. The only sound that breaks the silence is from those who are regularly casting out their makeshift fishing poles in hopes of catching a fish. Not knowing when their next meal could be, but trusting in the water to provide for them. As I slowly floated by these homes I am welcomed by each of them with outgoing gestures. Smiles and neighborly waves are shockingly simplistic to my eyes, but through theirs it is just another person strolling through the neighborhood.

“Similar But Different” by Jennifer Uribe
Guyana | May 2018
The boat ride was about three hours long and brought us into the depths of the Amazon rainforest. Indigenous villages are spread far and wide throughout the country of Guyana. In order to reach them, it usually requires long boat rides, steep hikes up mountain sides, and of course, money. The marginalization of these indigenous communities diminishes the opportunities for children to further their education past grade six. Finishing primary school is a norm in Moraikobai, however, dropping out after sixth grade is one too. One may leave the village and enroll in a boarding school far into the capital, but only if the family has enough money to do so – making it an opportunity for the rich and privileged. Similar but different.

“Redefining Definitions” by Hannah McKelvey
Nepal | May 2018 When most people hear the word “classroom,” the definition that pops into their head is a room with four walls, a ceiling lined with horrendous fluorescent lights, and twenty-something individual desks. I was also once that person, but my definition of a classroom was forever changed after my stay in Sahartara, Nepal. For four days, my classroom was a roof of a family’s house made from clay, stone, and twigs. At dawn, I would venture up the log ladders onto my neighbor’s roof and sit with my face turned up towards the sun trying to keep warm in the 30 degrees weather. As I sat and waited for my teacher to walk through the mountainside village, I would sit and watch as the woman of the household beat the bean stocks that were currently being stored on the roof. She would hum to the rhythm of her beats, creating a beautiful song that matched the beauty of the early morning sun coming up and over the mountains that surrounded us on every side. The class lasted for three hours each morning, but it never felt that long. Being surrounded by the enormous mountains, the birds flying above us, and the hot sun coming down on our backs, it made class time more enjoyable because we didn’t feel as if we were being suffocated within a bland box. My time learning on that roof made me realize just how many different places a person can learn, we don’t have to force ourselves into bland rooms and have our individualized desks; we can come together as a community and use just about any space as a learning environment.

“Celebration of Life” by Matthew Fournaris
Indonesia | February 2018 Shortly after arriving to my program site in the village of Kerambitan, a local man passed away. When a person passes away in Bali, it is viewed as a time to celebrate rather than mourn. A procession assisted by gamelan music guides the body to the cemetery in the village. The body is cremated while everyone from the village stands around it and pays their respects. Once the body is completely cremated, happy celebrations continue throughout the day in order to honor this man’s life. This idea of death being a time to celebrate was a difficult concept to understand for a group of students coming from the Western world.

Category: Landscape

Category Winner / The People’s Choice Award

“Jurassic Park” by Matthew Fournaris
Indonesia | May 2018

Located in the Komodo Islands of Indonesia, Padar Island sprawls as a trekker’s paradise. It is amongst the island chain deemed too dangerous to inhabit humans due to its high population of deadly Komodo dragons. In order to reach this island, you must spend a night on a small fishing boat with a local captain.

The Physiognomy of a Neotropical Cloud Forest” by Zoe Emory
Costa Rica | January 2019The cloud forests of Costa Rica are an endangered area due to climate change. The clouds and cool temperatures protect the forest and the species within it. Due to higher temperatures and more sunny days in this forest, some species are disappearing while others from usually warmer climates are appearing. I feel lucky to have experienced and captured this view, because future generations may not have the same opportunity I had while visiting this extraordinary ecosystem.

“Determining The Height” by Hannah McKelvey
Nepal | November 2018Growing up I had always watched documentaries on Nepal and Mount Everest which started my fascination for this famous peak and diverse culture. After 17 days of brutally long hikes amongst the Himalayas, my anticipation was shattered once I finally reached the summit of Kala Patthar. It stood at 18,500 feet and supposedly had the best view of Mount Everest, but as soon as I reached the summit, I was not convinced the mountain all the way in the back was Mount Everest. Everest was supposed to be the mountains of all mountains, the holy grail, the reason why thousands of people come to Nepal, but I was staring at a peak that looked like it came out of a drawing a six-year-old did. There are no distinct features for Mount Everest making it look like a simple triangular mountain; and it seems smaller because it is set so far back from the other peaks. With these two keen features, it made me skeptical about whether or not I was really looking at Mount Everest. It was not until the last little bit of the sunset when my skepticism began to wear off. It was the fact the sun started to fade away from the two closer peaks and land only on Mount Everest that convinced me that this dull triangle peak was actually the tallest in the world. What better evidence for being the tallest on earth when it’s the last bit of light hitting this side of the world to prove the point?

Category: Nature

Category Winner

“Trees Can Be Shy Too” by Zoe Emory
Costa Rica | January 2019

“Canopy Shyness” is a phenomenon witnessed in some species of full-grown trees where their canopies shy away from each other. The pattern is cohesive – like the canopy is made up of puzzle pieces, yet separate, as the tree crowns remain distinct. I had a difficult time watching where I was going while exploring the Monte Verde Cloud Forest, because I was so enraptured by the mesmerizing canopy. I suppose you could say I had my head in the clouds.


“Sporangia” by Emily Calder
Costa Rica | January 2019

Ever since taking Professor Hope’s ecosystem ecology class during the fall semester of my junior year, I have been fascinated by the patterns of sporangia on the underside of fertile fern fronds. It is a sort of game that I play: turning over fronds until I find one with little clusters of sporangia and admiring their unique pattern. While traveling through Costa Rica with my classmates and Professor Hope I was excited to learn more about ferns. In my exploration of the undersides of the many tropical ferns I came across, I discovered this interesting pattern. It is amazing the hidden secrets you discover when you look closer at the nature around you.


Category: People and the Human Spirit

Category Winner

“It’s Just A Name” by Jennifer Uribe
Guyana | May 2018

Every time I went to visit her, I would find her practicing her letters in a small brown notebook with her favorite yellow pencil. Within the two weeks together, I realized I hadn’t learned her name. I searched for her file until it was finally found under mountains of coffee-stained papers and sticky notes. I sprinted to her room, opened the door, and rejoiced, “My friend, Muhammad!!!!” She spent her days gazing outside her window, but today she turned her gaze towards me with widened eyes overflowing with joy. As tears streamed down her cheeks, she took her pencil and engraved, “5 no name” into the margin of her notebook. Five years. It had been five years since anyone said her name aloud. How powerful yet overlooked something like a name can be – validate, reaffirm, and pay attention.

The Kroger-Krikstone Best of Show Award

“Peekaboo I See You” by Brandon Bielinski
Tibet | June 2018

I came to Tibet hoping to see Everest, but the people are what I’ll remember the most. I caught this little girl curiously watching me out of the corner of my eye. When I turned my camera toward her she immediately bolted behind a tree. I pretended to turn around and walk away hoping she’d come back. I waited and waited until finally her little face appeared around the corner of the fence again. I frantically pressed the shutter of my camera. SNAP. Then she disappeared. SNAP, she poked her little head around again. SNAP, nope, not quite. SNAP, nope. SNAP, almosttt! SNAP, GOTCHA!!

“Family Business” by Lindsey Hedges
Nepal | March 2018

I heaved myself over the wall followed by my 76-year-old host Momo la (grandmother). She scales the barrier with grace and evidence of years of practice, making me look foolish after my clumsy attempt. She explains that she has owned this land for about 35 years. It’s her son’s farm, however, he is often away working in the city leaving her to take care of the land. This is not an uncommon case in rural Lower Mustang. Though the land in the village of Khyenga is dotted with countless apple farms, many of them are deserted due to out-migration of residents leaving for the city. For many years now, the Nepali government has encouraged its residents, especially those in rural areas, to plant apple trees as a way to help lift them out of poverty and stimulate local economies. Though this has been a somewhat effective method, it has had some negative impacts and disproportionately helps those in more populated areas. With populations in rural areas dropping every year many families, including my host family, has been faced with economic hardship.

Category: Society, Politics, Environment

Category Winner

“Holy War” by Lindsey Hedges
Nepal | February 2018

An afternoon scene from the great Boudanath Stupa in Boudha. Unlike a normal day this photo was taken during the weeks of celebrations for the Tibetan New Year, Losar. Because of potential New Year’s festivities the Nepali military, funded by the Chinese government, surrounded the holy stupa in droves to help quash any potential dissent from the Tibetan community. After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1960’s the Chinese government has worked vehemently to keep uprising at a minimum in and outside of Tibet. This armed presence was seen on multiple occasions after the New Year including the Dalai Lama’s birthday and other auspicious days.

“The Other Side of Saint Louis” by Margaret de Pont
Senegal | February 2018

As the former French capital of Senegal, Saint Louis has become renowned for its architectural and cultural embodiment of France’s colonial-era. However, when riding on a horse-drawn carriage through downtown Saint Louis, many guides fail to mention this fishing village. This picture shows an eroded cliff where community members dump their waste. With children making up 70% of its population, each family averages around six children per wife. Because one family can easily fill up a 15-person fishing boat, this community often loses entire families at sea. To make matters worse, environmental degradation coupled with overpopulation is further condensing the community’s livable area. In addition, recent urbanization has caused a new influx of sewage in the river. To combat the growing problem of climate refugees, the Senegalese government has proposed the construction of a 3km dike just north of the fishing village. Backed by French President Emmanuel Macron, our guide argued that this dike shows more promise for Senegalese President Macky Sall’s own campaigns than it does for this community which is so deeply indebted to the environment. This image, therefore, represents the crossroads between the Senegalese society, political life and environment.

“My Peace I Give You” by Allison Croce
Israel | January 2019

Captured in the Garden of Gethsemane, adjacent to the Church of Agony, stones below an olive tree spell out ‘PEACE.’ The garden is known biblically as a place Jesus visited with his disciples, and the church commemorated it as the site where Jesus wept for Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives is home to many biblical sites. The Holy Land, and the world, has been challenged with so much conflict that the single word peace has great power written in the ancient garden, inspiring pilgrims to spread peace and holiness in their lives.

Category: The Essence of Study Abroad

Category Winner

“Morning Tea” by Lindsey Hedges
India | February 2018

Enjoying morning tea in the kitchen of my homestay in Mundgod, India. Mundgod is home to the Doeguling Tibetan settlement area. Doeguling was established in 1966, a little over ten years after Tibetans began fleeing persecution in their home country. At the beginning the settlers were provided with tents and bamboo huts for temporary shelter and given rations as they worked together in a co-op fashion to start a new life in India. Today the settlement is vibrant and thriving with Tibetan culture. It is home to four schools, a health center, and seven monasteries. It was not uncommon for a neighbor to pop in for morning conversation as I ate, only further enhancing the idea of one big family within this settlement. Everyone truly depends on each other, truly portraying a community working together to rise above hardship. This settlement community gave me a whole new perspective on the experience of being a refugee and the process of seeking asylum.

“Monkeyland” by Madison Moore
South Africa | April 2018

There’s something beautiful in our ability to capture a moment with a camera, giving us the ability to revisit the exact second with a digital snapshot. But there is something even more beautiful, it seems, when moments are so captivating that they pull you away from the lens and capture the same vivid image in your own memory. South Africa offered this experience around every corner – pacing along the edges of Table Mountain, absorbing the flavors of local food, or standing a mere arms-length away from wild animals. You are enthralled and uncomfortable, in the very best way.

“Dune” by Sadie Kaplan
Morocco | February 2018

I nicknamed my camel “Dune.” We were riding these beautiful creatures up a hill in the Sahara Desert to watch the sunset. The camels glided across the sand effortlessly, dancing across the dunes with every step. I looked up and saw piles of sand spreading into the horizon, realizing I was a long way from home.

Category: Best Written Caption

Category Winner

“Redefining Women in Islam” by Margaret de Pont
Senegal | February 2018

In Western society, Muslim women are portrayed as the oppressed victims of an Islamic patriarchy. This image shows Mai Mbacké, the great-granddaughter of Cheikh Amadou Bamba (a member of the Mouridiyya holy family), speaking to a man who worked at the Grand Mosque of Touba. Mai, like many Muslim women, chooses to don a hijab. This does not, however, deter her from pledging her support for women in their flight for gender equality. Throughout our time in Touba, Mai argued that the vast majority of socio-cultural, religious and political constraints placed upon today’s woman must be viewed as the byproducts of a gendered, male-dominated system. She believed in placing an emphasis on women’s empowerment and encouraged each of us to become a catalyst of our own change. As a result, Mai became one of the many women who helped me redefine my own understanding of gender in Islam.

“How Independent Are We Really?” by Margaret de Pont
Senegal | March 2018

How independent are we really? This was a question raised again and again throughout my time abroad. For most Americans, the question seems ridiculous: Senegal gained its independence from France in 1960 and is therefore an independent, sovereign state. To most Senegalese, however, this question is essential to their identity. Phone companies, supermarkets and street names all serve as constant reminders of the French colonial influence. Further, everyday Senegalese are required to speak their colonizer’s language if they want to go to school, have a highpaying job, or be recognized on the world stage. In this photo, someone has written “moi, le sénégalais” (me, the Senegalese) on an onramp to the VDN. Ultimately, I believe that it illustrates the innate desire of the Senegalese people to be legitimized in their own right.

“Family Business” by Lindsey Hedges
Nepal | March 2018

I heaved myself over the wall followed by my 76-year-old host Momo la (grandmother). She scales the barrier with grace and evidence of years of practice, making me look foolish after my clumsy attempt. She explains that she has owned this land for about 35 years. It’s her son’s farm, however, he is often away working in the city leaving her to take care of the land. This is not an uncommon case in rural Lower Mustang. Though the land in the village of Khyenga is dotted with countless apple farms, many of them are deserted due to out-migration of residents leaving for the city. For many years now, the Nepali government has encouraged its residents, especially those in rural areas, to plant apple trees as a way to help lift them out of poverty and stimulate local economies. Though this has been a somewhat effective method, it has had some negative impacts and disproportionately helps those in more populated areas. With populations in rural areas dropping every year many families, including my host family, has been faced with economic hardship.

“Numb” by Anna Tuttle
Poland | November 2018

Numb. Completely and utterly numb. Full of sadness, anger, and fear but unable to move through the shock. Close your eyes and imagine it…the suffering, the death, the atrocities committed there…and multiply it by a thousand…and it is no comparison to how it felt to be there. Thinking about it now, I can feel the emotion in my chest, the same as the day I was there. These memories and what I have learned about me and the world, will never fade and will never be forgotten. It is worth the heartache and the pain to understand, though we can never truly feel as the men, women, and children who passed through there felt.